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IMG_6563BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE –  Growing up with basketballs. Dozens of games over the summer. Intense in-your-face practices.

The Cedar Crest boys’ basketball team doesn’t know how to win as much as its learned how to win.

On Tuesday night in a jam-packed Lou Sorrentino Gymnasium, on the campus of Lebanon Valley College, in the semifinals of the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs, the Falcons’ understanding of winning served them well on a night when they didn’t necessarily play their best game, against a gifted and bigger opponent. Cedar Crest displayed unwavering mental toughness, did all the right things in crunch time and gutted out a 45-40 triumph over a quality Manheim Central outfit.

IMG_6565After suffering through a 6:20 scoreless span from the third to fourth quarters, the Falcons took the lead for good at  38-34,with a Nick Miller jumper and an Evan Horn drive. Then, protecting a 40-39 edge with 1:47 to go, the Falcons ran their deliberate weave offense to perfection to get free throws from Miller and Horn, and a 43-40 advantage.

Cedar Crest wasn’t totally out of the woods until Baron sniper Taylor Funk’s long, off-balanced three-point attempt with four seconds remaining fell well short of its mark.

The win pushed Cedar Crest to 22-2 overall and into their third straight Lancaster-Lebanon League championship game, opposite a familiar foe. The reigning Section One champions and defending league champs will meet McCaskey, a 59-51 victor over Conestoga Valley, on Friday at 7 p.m. at Manheim Township.

IMG_6471The result snapped Section Three champion Manheim Central’s 21-game winning streak.

“I guess you could say we’ve learned how to win,” said Cedar Crest head coach Tommy Smith. “We’ve played in some big games over the years. There’s not a situation that’s too big or too small, and we’re able to respond to it. They (his players) definitely know how to win.

“I had a good angle (on Funk’s last-second attempt),” added Smith. “I could tell when it left his hand that it wasn’t going in. But the kid was a hell of a shooter.”

“I’m real confident at the free throw line,” said Miller of his pressure-packed foul shots with 18 seconds to go. “I put a ton of practice into it. Knowing how to win means making plays when it matters most, and playing throughout the game. And knowing your role.”

“That last shot of the game was what we were looking for, absolutely,” said Manheim Central head coach Chris Sherwood. “It’s what we drew up. He (Funk) was off-balance, but I’m OK with that. We are a perimeter team. Pounding people inside is not what we’re about.”

IMG_6492Facing a three-point deficit in the locker room, Cedar Crest outscored the Barons 27-19 over the second half of play. The Falcons did it by attacking the rim more aggressively and by turning up the intensity of their man-to-man defense.

Thanks to six points from senior Andrew Eberhart and buckets from Josh Bucher, Dom Garloff and Miller, the Falcons pieced together a 12-2 burst early in the third quarter to assume a 30-25 lead. Following his side’s ensuing scoring drought, Miller righted the Cedar Crest ship with a couple of free throws and a jumper to establish a 36-34 edge.

“I thought the key moment came with 1:47 left, when we were able to hold the ball and get them to play our game, finally,” said Smith. “A couple of years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to do that. Our guards couldn’t have pulled it off.”

IMG_6488“I think Nick Miller got an offensive rebound (early in the third quarter) and we finally got a foul call,” Smith added. “That got us some momentum. It sparked us.”

“Yeah, I think we played better in the second half,” said Miller. “We knew there was no time to waste. We turned up the intensity, especially on defense. At halftime, Coach said we were right where we wanted to be, down three to a very good team. We’re a third-quarter team and a second-half team.”

“I thought our defense played great,” said Sherwood. “I thought we did a really good job with their baseline penetration. If someone would’ve told me were were going to give up 45 points, I would’ve taken it. I was thinking in the 40s, we win the game.

“I thought our guys executed the game plan,” Sherwood continued. “We are what we are. Defensively, we executed perfectly.”

IMG_6495Eberhart’s 12 points paced the Falcons, while Miller connected for ten. Funk was held to ten points because of Soren Frost’s defensive efforts, while Horn limited the Barons’ other star player, Matt Walsh.

Cedar Crest knocked down seven-of-eight free throw attempts, compared to Manheim Central’s three-for-eight shooting at the stripe. The Falcons were without the services of senior guard Jimmy Kern for disciplinary reasons.

“He’s done it all year, to anyone who he’s defended,” said Smith of Horn’s defense of Walsh. “Tonight was just another night.But Soren and Nick did just as good a jobs. We told Soren, ‘Nose-to-chest and make him (Funk) bounce’.

“I thought we played an OK game,” Smith continued. “I thought we played better in the second half. But they (the Barons) had a lot to do with that. They were dictating to us.”

“I thought we defended so hard, and we made our free throws,” said Miller. “We held them to 40 points. They (Horn and Frost) did a heck of a job. They held them (Funk and Walsh) under their averages. Those were the two players we were keying on.”

IMG_6467“We just lost to a really good basketball team, and we didn’t play our best game,” said Sherwood. “We have other goals. But the guys are upset.”

Bucher canned a three-pointer and Eberhart drilled back-to-back jumpers, as Cedar Crest raced out to an early 7-2 advantage. Horn placed the finishing touch on the Falcons’ 11-6 opening period with a steal and lay-in at the buzzer.

“In the first half, we did not attack, offensively or defensively,” said Smith. “That was our message at halftime, ‘Let’s dictate tempo’. Once it got to our pace, we were able to settle down.

“They (the Barons) sag, and when they did, our guards didn’t attack,” added Smith. “They took away our baseline, which is a huge part of our offense.”

“That was amazing,” said Miller, a soccer player by trade. “We knew we were going to be able to pull it out. That was the best team we played all year. It feels great. There’s nothing like it.”

IMG_6520“They hit a couple of shots early,” said Sherwood of the Falcons. “Yes, there were some nerves. I have special kids. They’re 16 and 17 years old. They’re (the Falcons) a good team. We want him (Eberhart) to shoot. When the ball is in his hands it’s not in Evan Horn’s hands.”

A 13-4 run early in the second quarter gave Manheim Central a 19-15 margin. And all the Falcons could manage over the final 5:10 of the first half was a Bucher trey, as the Barons carried a 21-18 edge to the break.

“It was a goal we had,” said Smith of a possible league championship repeat. “We wanted the section. We wanted the league. Getting to three league championship games in-a-row isn’t bad.

IMG_6571“They’re (the Barons) very good,” Smith continued. “They’d be able to compete in Section One. They have size, skill, athleticism, and they’re very well-coached.”

“It’s one of our goals,” said Miller of another league championship. “One after another, we have to get through it. We want more than last year. That district championship game (a loss to York High) is hanging over our heads.”

“It’s a great test,” said Sherwood. “Lebanon (in the quarterfinals) was a great test. Who wouldn’t like playing in this atmosphere? I think this is pretty valuable right now.”

Admission to the game was sold out 45 minutes before tip-off. Hundreds of fans from both sides were turned away.

 

Manheim Central (40)

PLAYER FGM FTM FTA 3PM PTS_TOT FT%
Tanner Brenize 0 0 0 0 0
Colin Brubaker 1 0 0 1 3 0
Ryan Carlino 0 0 0 0 0
Taylor Funk 4 0 2 2 10 0
Blake Reiff 2 0 0 2 6 0
Tony Staffieri 2 1 3 5 0.333
Matt Walsh 2 1 2 1 6 0.5
Dan Wiederrecht 4 1 2 1 10 0.5

IMG_6511Cedar Crest (45)

PLAYER FGM FTM FTA 3PM PTS_TOT FT%
Josh Bucher 3 0 0 2 8 0
Andrew Eberhart 6 0 0 12 0
Raymie Ferreira 0 0 0 0 0
Soren Frost 2 0 0 4 0
Dominic Garloff 2 0 0 4 0
Evan Horn 2 3 4 7 0.75
Marq Kintzer 0 0 0 0 0
Nick Miller 3 4 4 10 1
  • Team 1 2 3 4 Final
    Manheim Central
    6 15 9 10 40
    Cedar Crest
    11 7 14 13 45
Cedar Crest 2014-15 Results
IMG_6516
DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
12/05
@Palmyra
6:30 PM W 62-44
12/06
CD East
5:00 PM W 70-60
12/10
@Central York
7:30 PM W 50-48
12/12 *
@Solanco
7:30 PM W 65-27
12/15 *
Ephrata
7:30 PM W 68-53
12/17 *
@Conestoga Valley
7:30 PM W 74-45
12/19 *
McCaskey
7:30 PM W 57-48
12/23 *
@Hempfield
7:30 PM W 46-43
12/29 #
Camp Hill
7:30 PM W 80-61
12/30 #
Hershey
7:30 PM W 53-42
01/02 *
@Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM W 58-56
01/06 *
Warwick
7:30 PM W 55-33
01/09 *
@Penn Manor
7:30 PM W 45-44
01/12 *
Garden Spot
7:30 PM W 66-23
01/14 *
@Elizabethtown
7:30 PM W 67-52
01/16 *
Lebanon
7:30 PM W 59-42
01/20 *
@McCaskey
7:30 PM L 54-58
01/22 *
Hempfield
7:30 PM W 58-54
01/27 *
Manheim Twp.
7:30 PM W 52-38
01/30 *
@Warwick
7:30 PM L 57-60
02/03 *
Penn Manor
7:30 PM W 72-43
02/05
@McCaskey
8:00 PM W 68-46
02/09 #
Lancaster Catholic
7:00 PM W 56-33
02/11 #
Manheim Central
7:00 PM W 45-40

IMG_6463 District Three

Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAA School W L T Rating

1 Cedar Crest 19- 2- 0 0.811602

2 Cedar Cliff 20- 2- 0 0.803052

3 William Penn 18- 4- 0 0.802332

4 J P McCaskey 17- 5- 0 0.788332

5 Reading 18- 4- 0 0.776121

6 Central York 16- 6- 0 0.760164

7 Northeastern 20- 2- 0 0.758480

8 Harrisburg 16- 6- 0 0.750694

IMG_64819 Hempfield 15- 7- 0 0.746181

10 Carlisle 16- 6- 0 0.737605

11 Exeter Township 17- 5- 0 0.730178

12 Warwick 14- 8- 0 0.715132

13 Cumberland Valley 14- 8- 0 0.710915

14 Hershey 13- 9- 0 0.693510

15 Central Dauphin East 13- 9- 0 0.692111

16 Red Lion Area 13- 9- 0 0.685730

IMG_655817 Spring Grove Area 14- 8- 0 0.680733

18 Shippensburg Area 16- 6- 0 0.679236

19 Governor Mifflin 12- 10- 0 0.654347

20 Lebanon 13- 9- 0 0.653790

21 Dallastown Area 12- 10- 0 0.649993

22 Conestoga Valley 12- 10- 0 0.637353

23 Lower Dauphin 11- 11- 0 0.633747

24 Waynesboro Area 13- 9- 0 0.627586

25 Elizabethtown Area 11- 11- 0 0.618086

26 Manheim Township 8- 13- 0 0.604186

27 Central Dauphin 8- 12- 0 0.601781

IMG_654328 Wilson Senior 9- 13- 0 0.599806

29 Mechanicsburg Area 9- 13- 0 0.598207

30 Chambersburg Area 8- 14- 0 0.589636

31 Greencastle Antrim 8- 14- 0 0.545404

32 South Western 6- 15- 0 0.519041

33 Penn Manor 5- 17- 0 0.495312

IMG_650634 Solanco 7- 15- 0 0.491442 0

35 Northern York 7- 15- 0 0.488847

36 Red Land 5- 17- 0 0.480957

37 Ephrata Area 4- 18- 0 0.440761

38 New Oxford 4- 18- 0 0.436323

39 Muhlenberg 3- 19- 0 0.397024

40 Garden Spot 3- 18- 0 0.393694

41 York County School Of Technology 4- 18- 0 0.318375

42 Daniel Boone 1- 21- 0 0.306320

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